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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  November 8, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST

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gold, it's all the rage. people are asking me, should i buy it? should i have it? well i'm going to give you my advice about that and other ways that you can make more out of your dough. you give me this next half hour, and you're going to smile all the way to the bank. ever since i can remember, i've been fascinating by money, making it, saving it, studying it. by the time i was 31, i had earned enough to retire. so i embarked on a new mission -- helping you take care of your money. so you can save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off.
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the new stats on the housing market were absolutely atrocious. did you hear about this? for the third quarter of this year, foreclosures hit an all-time record. but wait, it gets worse. if you look in the pipeline of what's coming in terms of people who are already delinquent on their homes -- wow! we're going to have a really, really rough time with the housing market in 2010. and it's really democratizing, because instead of it being lower-priced homes, it's homes of all price levels. now there is a good side to this. you know what that is? there is great, great, great opportunity for you, as a buyer, and it's only going to get better, especially through the winter. so i'm looking forward to seeing this first one. it looks really nice from the
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curb. wow, these people beat the daylights out of this place. like right here. where this formica is damaged. it makes a bad impression. it looks awful, but this would be so inexpensive to repair. small dining room, small living room. we build so much more than most of us really need. what do you think was going on here? people were taking containers of grease and just pouring them on the carpets? >> the carpets will probably need to be replaced. >> ooh, i think we got some water damage. sheetrock not well repaired. i think an inspection would be really important. >> absolutely. >> i give this one an a. how would you grade it? >> i think it's a great price point, especially for a first-time home buyer. take advantage of the tax credit. get moved in, not have to do a lot of work. and most of the work that needs
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to be done is user-friendly. >> right. this is not a real handyman's special. this one is a good buy. this is a nice house. i can tell right from the curb. and in this case, the bank is doing a good job taking care of the property. i bet the family that was here spent all their time right in this area right here. i'd be right here with my big-screen tv, sitting there, watching the nfl. you know, when i lived in the north, i had a bedroom that was the size of this closet here. this house is in great shape. now if you look at other distress sales in the neighborhood, it's priced about right. but compared to nondistressed sales, this one's a deal.
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bad things can happen to good neighborhoods. this neighborhood behind me, very well maintained. this foreclosure, on the other hand -- well, it's not looking so hot. if you look right here, it looks like termite damage here. this bay window? look at this. this is either termites, water damage or a combination of the two. well, actually, it's not as bad inside so far as it was outside. that playset's not looking so good back there. wow. i don't think you can have a better representation of the heartbreak that the mortgage meltdown has than seeing that. eww.
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that bathroom is not looking so good. let's go upstairs, see what we got. uh-oh, uh-oh. danger, will robinson. we got some serious water damage here. let me see. yeah, there's been real water damage here and the tiles are just trying to cover it up. and then more water damage up above my head. this would be one that you would want to watch and wait for. and you have to be willing to use a lot of elbow grease to get this house in shape. oh, this was somebody's self-help job, doing this. if this was smell-a-vision, what you'd be experiencing right now is the absolute mold smell. in fact, my nose is itching from the mold, from the dampness
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down here. hide the children. no! no! no! what were they doing? what in the world is this? oh, look at the mold. see, i was telling the truth. this is something that would tell me this house is more trouble than i could handle. so as you've seen on my video tour, there's both tricks and treats. you really got to think through when is something a real deal versus fair market value in a neighborhood and the cost that it will take you to do the repairs that that house requires. and are you up to those repairs? i can tell you -- i'm not. next on "clark howard" -- >> i'd like to learn a lot of things from the money coach, but the bottom line is responsibility. i want to learn how to be smart with my money, how to make it work for me.
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>> caller: the best cd rate i can find is 2.2. i'm considering buying $300,000 worth of gold. >> wow, that's a huge amount of gold to own.
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bob is with us, bob, how are you doing? >> caller: doing fine, clark. how about yourself? >> great, thank you. i understand you want to buy some gold. >> caller: i'm thinking about it. i'll give you a brief outline. i'm 78 years old. i own five pieces of real estate. three of them are rental houses. and i have eight cds at $100,000 each.
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i'm considering -- the best cd rate i can find is 2.2. i'm considering buying $300,000 worth of gold. >> wow, that's a huge amount of gold to own. generally when people want to own gold or precious metals, owning somewhere 5% to 10% of your assets in gold is fine. i mean, like at a max, based on what you just told me, owning somewhere like $80,000 in gold would be appropriate. but owning $300,000 in gold would be too much of your assets tied up in something that's very volatile and has significant risk over time. >> caller: all right. >> but if you're going to buy gold, i would like you to buy something that's kind of like a mutual fund of gold known as an
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etf, exchange-traded fund. is the kind of gold you should buy. research this term -- gold etf fund. because gold etf allows you to own the underlying gold without you having to handle it, store it, or without you paying big fees to buy and sell it. but i would be careful taking too much of that low-earning cd money and throwing it into gold. because that would ultimately prove to be very risky. michael's with us. hello, michael. >> caller: hi, clark. how are you? >> great. i understand that you were ill recently, are you okay now? >> caller: much better, thanks for asking. last month i had to go to an
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emergency room locally for flu symptoms. and saw the doctor for a few moments. paid the bill. left, everything was fine. then i get -- about a month later, i receive another bill, for doctor services. and i -- is this normal? because i asked when i left the hospital, what my total was. they gave me a total amount. i paid it. and now i've received another bill. i didn't have any lab work or anything like that, it was basically just a doctor visit. >> so you will have -- in your case, they didn't do any culture or anything to try to confirm that you have this, that or the other? >> no, they just asked me for my symptoms. she wrote a prescription and i left. >> okay. so if you got a bill from the hospital and then the bill from the doctor, your surprises should be over. do you have insurance? >> caller: i didn't at the time because i just started a new job.
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>> all right. so when the hospital bills you, initially they bill you at full retail. and then the attending physician bills you at full retail as well. did you know those charges are negotiable? >> caller: no, i didn't. >> all right. give me a -- give me a for instance. like what is this doctor's bill that you were charged? >> caller: $245 and initially i paid $200 at the hospital. >> all right. the $245 is a full retail list price. and nobody pays full retail list. what you should do is you should contact the doctor and see -- you have insurance now. say, what would my doctor charge have been under your plan? and whatever that is, that would be a reasonable amount for you to pay. by now, i hope everybody in america who has a toyota or a
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lexus made between 2004 and 2010 has checked to see if your vehicle is one of the ones affected by one of the oddest recalls of all time. 4 million vehicles, approximately, were recalled because the driver floor mat could cause you to be in an accident and possibly even cause a fatal wreck. it's weird, isn't it? the remedy, so simple, you pull out the floor mat on the driver's side and you let your carpet get dirty. but most recalls aren't so simple. the shocker is that most of the time, even when there's a recall involving serious safety stuff, people don't respond, don't take their cars or trucks to the dealer. i want you to take care of it, especially if it's steering, braking, something like that. there's a website you can learn what's going on with your car, check it out. next on "clark howard" -- >> is it a credit card that you already had or is it a brand-new
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one out of the blue that you heard from that somebody was pretending to be you? >> it's about ten of them so far. >> no, really? >> caller: really.
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do you have a question for me? well, it's so easy to ask. just go to my website, and click to do a video submission of your question. and who knows, you could be like ashley, asking your question of me. >> hi, i'm ashley and i need a money coach. my biggest concern relating to finances would be that i'm ill-prepared for the future. and the future meaning tomorrow and the next day. and i'm just afraid i'll keep making mistakes and continue on this cycle of destruction, as far as finances go. i like to start saving for retirement and saving for other big expenses. i've got a retirement account
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now. it only exists because i worked for a big company in my last job and i automatically contributed. to since then, which was about five years ago, i haven't contributed anything. my question is, as a single 30-year-old, how do i start preparing for the future for things like family and retirement. >> ashley, ashley, ashley. five years you haven't been saving any money? don't break my heart that way. you got to get cooking with this. now, because you're self-employed, you have available to you a wonderful retirement plan, very simple to set up -- known as a s.e.p., simplified employee pension. it's very flexible how much money you contribute to it. very easy to do, you can do it with many companies that are no-commission companies. that will take care of one-half of what you need to do. the other thing was more ill-defined, saving for a family. well, for that, simple savings will do.
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every month i want you to automatically deposit money into a savings account to start building up a cushion for whatever near-term needs you might have for dough. now, as for you, it's always a juggling act. trying to figure out what to do with limited resources, where your money should go. your first dollar of savings should go into tax advantage plans. you work for an employer with a 401(k) or something equivalent? that's where you start saving. next thing, you do the roth account. and then after that, you save for other things like -- well, a kid's college education. danielle, how are you doing? >> caller: i'm good. how are you? >> good. now danielle, when did you get this duplicate personality? >> caller: i found out about it this week. >> what we're talking about here is that somebody has flattered you in a way that no one wants to be flattered.
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>> caller: that is correct. >> they have become your clone. >> caller: they have. >> is it a credit card you already had? or is it a brand-new one out of the blue that you heard from that somebody was pretending to be you? >> caller: it's about ten of them so far. >> no, really? >> caller: really. and they've gotten my social security number and my birth. all that information and are opening up credit cards under my, my person. >> so this individual has been a human wrecking crew. >> caller: right. >> in that they have already -- think about all the effects here. they've opened ten credit cards as if they're you. they have trashed your credit score. because suddenly you have all of these new lines of credit that have been opened everywhere that you had nothing to do with. what solves the problem, and you're even allowed to do this upfront in all 50 states to prevent what happened to you. is to freeze your credit files. the second you freeze your
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credit, which you can go online and you can freeze all three of your credit files, bam! from that second forward, nobody will be able to apply for credit as if they're you. you stop them cold, 100% in their tracks. you have -- as an identity theft victim, you have access to copies of your credit reports for free, where normally people would be allowed only a single free copy of each report a year. so you have extra rights because you've already been wronged. and in most states, when you actually need legitimate access to credit, you'll be able to temporarily thaw your credit for free as well. >> caller: okay. >> so it gives you the peace of mind that you are not going to have right now until you do freeze your credit. next on "clark howard" -- >> have you ever been to australia before? >> caller: i have not, no. >> it's a fun, fun trip. are you going to drive? i don't mean to there, i mean
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once you get there. 
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today on the "clark howard" show, you're going to learn how to stay out of harm's way of identity theft. but that's just one way you're going to learn how to fatten your wallet. you give me this next half hour, and i'm going to show you how to be your own boss. ever since i can remember, i've been fascinated by money, making it, saving it, studying it. by the time i was 31, i had earned enough to retire. so i embarked on a new mission, helping you take care of your money so you can save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. >> now from his radio studio,
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your money expert, clark howard. >> i'm not from the fbi, but i'm here to help you. there is a new warning from the fbi about a hot, hot scam working where you get an e-mail that pretends to be either from the fbi or the department of homeland security with a claim that there is information there that you might be interested in. what kind of information? well, there are several versions. one of them says that it's a confidential fbi report on new patterns in al qaeda financing. another one says weapons of mass destruction directory. just to give you an example of what kind of things are floating out there. and what happens if you open one of these e-mails? you end up loading viruses on your computer. what are the criminals going to do with that? they're going to try to take over your bank accounts. they'll have access to all your passwords and all the rest. these are known as trojan and key logger programs.
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and the key thing to you is to know that the fbi is not sending any of these. you have to be smart about any e-mail you receive and ever opening any attachment. now, how can i help you stay out of harm's way? what's your question for me? erin is with us. erin, hi. how are you? >> caller: hey. i'm hoping you can help me keep my sanity, clark, and then i'll be okay. >> tell me how i can be of service. >> caller: my husband and i are one of those unfortunate people who are upside down on the value of their home now. and through listening to your show and advice through friends, we learned earlier in the year about possibly refi'ing through our mortgage company or doing a loan modifications through our mortgage company. so in april we started a process with our then mortgage company, we got approved, and two days later, a new mortgage company called and said, we bought your loan. we thought, okay, it's
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coincidence. so we started the process over, faxed in all the 60 pages of paperwork. about three weeks ago, we got approved and literally, the very next day, again, mortgage company called and said we can't continue with the loan modification even though you've been approved because we're selling your loan effective november 1st. >> are you fannie or freddie? is your loan, behind the scenes, owned by fannie mae or freddie mac? >> caller: no, sir. >> so your loan as a modification is done or a refi is done, it's up to the individual bank, not fannie or freddie, to say whether they'll do it or not, and amazingly twice -- this is an amazing story you're telling me -- twice you've been approved and each time the rug gets pulled out from under you. >> caller: yes, sir. >> here's what you do. i want to you go to the website let me repeat that.
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you're going to put in your zip code and then it will take you to the closest national foundation for credit counseling office, where you will be able to make an appointment with a housing counselor. and with their help, hopefully you'll be able to get this thing moving for you and your family so that you can keep your home. steve, you are headed to retirement. congratulations to you! >> caller: well, i had things go right, clark. i appreciate that. i'm just laying it out right now. i guess my question is, i've been -- let me back up. i don't know if it's once a year or twice a year, you know, the social security sends you a statement saying you have so many credits based on -- shows your income over the years and shows if you retire at 62, it's approximately this or at 65, full retirement.
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first of all i was wondering if you know how accurate those numbers are. >> very. >> caller: oh, okay. >> those are very accurate, because especially as you get close to retirement, they are almost right on the money. >> caller: that's good. i'm pleasantly surprised. >> so that's not something to worry about. by the way, your social security check is going to be fine if you're getting close to that stage. >> caller: in february i turn 62. >> you're going to be fine. >> caller: the trick is trying to figure out, of that check, if i keep working versus if i take something part time. my wife works part-time, i could get by on part-time -- >> do it. >> caller: but i'm just trying to figure out -- >> do it. sometimes i talk in absolutes and sometimes i hem and haw. i will tell you that you will smile so long through your retirement years if you defer
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taking that social security check at 62, keep working part-time, build up more credit, and then ultimately take your social security benefit. you're perfectly capable of working now. it will generate a much larger check from social security the longer you wait to take it, and you will have earned money when you're capable rather than what happens to so many people that get older and they won't be able to work but they need the money. >> next on clark howard -- >> caller: when i logged in, the website asked for my bank name first, my routing number, and then my user i.d. and password to my bank account. and that's where i immediately stopped. >> if she knows about the money and she turns out not to be responsible -- >> caller: i hope not. >> -- you can't keep her from taking the money and blowing it. so kind of keep it quiet this money is there.
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do you have a question for me? it's so easy to ask me a question. just go to and post your online video question for me. if you do so, you could be right here with me on "money coach" where you get to ask me your question about your wallet. we're going to meet somebody right now who has a question for me about whether or not something i've talked about is really safe to do. it's time to meet tasha. >> hi, i'm tasha and i need a money coach. i want help doing a budget, because i want to know where
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the money is going. there's not any extra, and if we do need extra, it's put on a credit card. and that's what i'm trying to get away from. i heard about either on the clark howard show or in the paper. is a free website you can go to prepare a personal budget. of course, you log in, use your i.d. and when i logged in, it asked for my bank name, my routing number and then it asked for my user i.d. and password to my bank account. that's where i immediately stopped and -- you know, can't do this. my question is, is a safe website to use when creating a personal budget? >> tasha, you're on to something. i use, but there is a risk because you are coughing up your passwords. if you read their security briefing, they'll tell you all the things they do to try to
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make your information safe. but nowhere there does it say if they have a breach that they're going to cough up your dough if there is a problem. but they do, in fact, give you alerts that let you know later, hey, there is a big transaction going on in your account. is this okay? so that you are able, over time, to monitor what's going on. and speaking of monitoring, for you, if you were trying to track your dough, i want you to know i love i love their competitor because with these sites, you can track all your income, all your outgo, all your assets so you're able to see where you can trim expenses, where you need to beef up your savings and your retirement dough. >> collette is with us. i want to welcome you. how are you doing? >> caller: fine. thank you, clark. thanks so much for taking my call. >> yes, ma'am.
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how can i be of service? >> caller: yes, please. i was calling to get advice from you. my 9-year-old daughter had an accident in 2006. >> oh, is she okay? >> caller: yes, she is. thank you. we just had a court settlement and just wanted to ask the best way to save this money for her. >> did the court specify a purpose for the money for your daughter? >> caller: no. it's just that it has to be for her. >> and how old is she now? >> caller: she's 9. >> 9. what would you like the purpose of this money to be? >> caller: to save it for her in an account to use it for school or maybe later in life for her first home or something like that, flexible. >> so pretty far down the road? >> caller: yes. >> and the total amount after taxes? >> caller: it's 17,250. >> most often what happens when someone gets a settlement like this, the lawyer who negotiated
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it for you will try to hook you up with an insurance person, who would then sell an annuity for your daughter. and what i prefer instead is that because your daughter is only 9 and the goal is longer term in nature, is that you look at putting the money into a mutual fund for your daughter. in her case, there is one in particular that i would like you to look at that is what's known as a tax-managed portfolio. what that will do is put this money into a mix of stocks and bonds and there will be no tax that she will owe in the years up till the point that she's an adult, and only at the time that she would sell would she owe tax, but the way it's set up, the tax that she would owe is tiny, tiny, tiny, if any, at the time she would need access to
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the money. >> caller: okay. >> next on clark howard -- >> caller: we're looking at these self-directed iras that supposedly you can put real estate in them. >> that is something that just freaks me out. that is such a smart way to handle car buying because it means that you will never owe more on the car than what it's worth. and it means you will own it free and clear without any monthly payment for years and years and years.
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ed is with us. ed, how are you? >> caller: good afternoon. very well. and you? >> wonderful, thank you. >> caller: i need advice on an area that is a bit confusing, and that is self-directed iras. my wife and i have accumulated a little bit of money in regular iras, not roths. we've had them in cds, and as you know, they're not paying much right now. >> the money in this ira, is it money you'll need in the next
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few years, next 10, next 20 or never? >> caller: we want to live off the ira. >> starting how soon? >> caller: we're starting to eat into the principle right now because of the low interest rate. we're looking at these self-directed iras that you can supposedly put real estate in them. >> that is something that just freaks me out. >> caller: they are scary. >> what are you thinking of doing in terms of real estate? are you thinking of owning real estate inside that ira? >> caller: yeah, buying a condo in a resort area, the kind that you can rent out, you know. >> owning an investment property inside an ira really costs you in so many ways, because real estate is best owned in a taxable way, because there are so many tax advantages to owning it. you know, in an ira -- and if you have somebody handle the
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self-directed aspect of you actually owning actively managed real estate in one, you pay a lot of fees for that. i mean, there is a way for you to diversify into real estate without having to actually own and manage, and that is in your self-directed ira, you can own a real estate mutual fund. if you look at the tax advantages to owning that as a taxable asset, you won't consider any further at all owning that inside an ira. and rodha is with us. how are you? >> caller: very good, clark. how are you? >> wonderful. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i love your show. >> thank you very much. >> caller: i do have a question. my husband and i are looking at buying a new car, and the manufacturer has incentives going on right now. either you get cash back or you
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get 0% for 36 months. i'm trying to hear from you what is the better way to go. >> well, there is no one right answer on that because if you were to get the 0% financing versus what you might be able to get at a credit union -- are you a credit union member? >> caller: i'm not. but i got preapproved for a loan for under 4%. >> you're already in the right territory. if you compare, and you have to run the numbers on this, you do an amortization schedule where you figure out which is actually going to be the cheaper for you. some of the easiest calculators, you'll find some available for cars on, and then you'll be able to see exactly which of the two alternatives would be cheaper. normally on a short loan cycle
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like that, with you getting such a cheap, cheap rate from whatever lending source you found at the under 4%, you'll usually do better taking the $2,000 off and taking out the low-cost loan. and did you know you're a genius? >> caller: i am? >> yes. >> caller: how? >> for taking out a three-year loan. >> caller: oh, thank you. >> if you went back 40 years ago, the only loans people ever took out were three-year car loans. and we've gotten away from that. but that is such a smart way to handle car buying, because it means that you will never owe more on the car than what it's worth. and it means you will own it free and clear without any monthly payment for years and years and years. good for you. i've had so many calls from people who are just absolutely fit to be tied by the notices they're getting from their credit card companies.
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credit card companies are racing new legislation that takes full effect in february of next year that restricts when a credit card company can raise interest rates on you and when they can change terms and conditions on you as well. now they have to give you longer notices. that's already happening. what kind of things are credit card companies doing in advance? number one, they're switching how your interest rate is calculated on your credit card, moving from fixed rate offerings to variable rates. why is that significant to you? well, here is the deal. the rate that the variables work off of is something known as the prime rate. that's extra low right now. when the prime rate rises, the interest rate will rise on your credit card as well. how do you fight back against a changing interest rate? pay off your balances. then they can't charge you. next on "clark howard" -- >> even if it means you have to delay finishing school for a while till you save up money,
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pay with cash. do not, under any conditions, take out private student loans, because they are the most miserable experience.
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